Release your report on the "land grabbing" company EMVest
  • Petitioned Vanderbilt University Faculty Senate

This petition was delivered to:

Vanderbilt University Faculty Senate

Release your report on the "land grabbing" company EMVest

    1. Zach Blume
    2. Petition by

      Zach Blume

      Nashville, TN

The wider Vanderbilt community, including other faculty who are not members of the Senate, has the right to evaluate the work of the Faculty Senate's "Strategic Planning and Academic Freedom" (SPAF) Committee which produced a report investigating the general investment procedure of Vanderbilt University, and its investment in the company Emergent Asset Management (now "EMVest") which has been alleged by two independent sources of coercively obtaining land, mistreating workers, and lying in public documents, and pursuing a generally unethical strategy of creating a land race in agricultural land which is vital to subsistence farmers in subsaharan Africa. Read Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food's response to this investigation as it has been described so far, and more general background about Vanderbilt's investment in this unethical cdompany.

This currently-withheld document is important to evaluate directly instead of relying on the public statement made by Dr. Weintraub summarizing the report which, importantly, quoted directly from the report but mostly was a interpretive summary. Although there is a "history of not discussing internal reports", in this case Dr. Weintraub quoted directly from the report when reporting to the public press and public Vanderbilt community members, and Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food organizers have spoken under public conditions with all three of the committee members, all meetings in which they extensively discussed the content of the report.

We are calling on you to release the report to the Vanderbilt community because of

(1) The extremely serious nature of allegations, not all of which, nor all the evidence pertaining to which, were addressed by this committee. There is a serious and important ongoing dialogue between administration, students, and other faculty around the school over the issue and many feel the Faculty Senate is not participating in this scholarly process in the optimal fashion by refusing to engage with it outside of producing the Dr. Weintraub's summary of the report.

(2) If there is a history of keeping reports internal, your members have already broken that tradition: through quoting it directly, and through discussing it extensively. In order to clear the air, the report should be released because relying on secondary sources of the report content is not a very scholarly endeavor and the conversation which will be moving forward will benefit from having another primary source in hand. Otherwise we will be forced to engage with and potentially critique the Faculty Senate based on this secondhand information.

(3) We are aware that nothing in the report is truly confidential (according to Dr. Weintraub, Chair of Senate; Dr. Atack, SPAF committee; Dr. Gerstle, SPAF committee), certainly not more than has already been non-confidentially released to Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food, who had a non-confidential conversation with Provost McCarty and Vice-Chancellor Wright about the specific investment and general procedure and has released this information about the investment to the Vanderbilt community.

-- Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Jane Hussain NASHVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      I received my MEd. from Peabody College and worked and taught at Vanderbilt for 17 years. I am now retired, but I still consider myself very much part of the Vanderbilt community.

    • Eric Lyons NASHVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      Not releasing it just makes the University look more guilty, regardless of whether they've done anything shady.

    • Katy Savage NASHVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      The charge being brought against Vanderbilt by the public is that they are engaged in land-grabbing, which Oxfam has called a crime against humanity. Some hasty, confidential report is insufficient to answer such a serious charge. Please engage in real, transparent investigation on this subject!

    • Kyle Lambelet NASHVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      Vanderbilt espouses values of "equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors." It should manifest these commitments in its economic investments, as well as in the classroom.

    • Cassandra Wild NASHVILLE, TN
      • over 2 years ago

      You would release this document publicly if you did not have anything unethical to hide.


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